Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Assembly GOP COVID bill - the same old garbage that isn't intended to make things better

After 9 months of nearly no legislative activity, The Wisconsin State Assembly got inagurated yesterday, and promptly sprung into action. Assembly Republicans decided that it was finally time to do something about the COVID-19 pandemic that has hit hard in the state. I kid, I kid. The GOPs in the Assembly did come up with a COVID bill that they had a public hearing on today. But if you paid attention to the power-grabbing piece of crap that they floated out there last month, you'll see that it's basically the same thing.

Here's a sampling of how Wisconsin Public Radio described it.

The new GOP-backed proposal, which mirrors some elements of an Assembly plan released in early December, would give businesses, schools and governmental entities legal immunity if someone contracts COVID-19 on their premises, even if the entity isn’t following local, state or federal requirements to curb the spread of the virus.

The bill would also:

Bar schools from providing virtual instruction, unless its school board votes to approve virtual instruction by a two-thirds vote of its members. Each approval would last only 14 days.

Require the state unemployment insurance call center to expand its hours until a backlog of unemployment claims is at pre-pandemic levels.

Extend the suspension of a one-week waiting period for unemployment benefits until March 14.

Prohibit the state Department of Health Services (DHS), local health officials, and employers from requiring people to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Limit local health officers’ ability to restrict capacity of businesses during the pandemic to 14-day periods, unless the local government approves an extension of such an order. Each extension could only last 14 days.

Bar DHS and local health officers from closing or forbidding gatherings in places of worship.
Typical poser BS that's based more on relaying the whines from RW Talk Radio than it is in dealing with the realities of the COVID World. The liability protections for employers that put their workers at risk is an especially nice touch, and the vocal approval of Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce about that measure tells you who came up with that scheme.

In what's also an obnoxious WisGOP pattern, there are unfunded mandates thrown into the bill. This includes giving zero to pay for staff and other costs connected to having more hours at the call center for unemployment, the overriding of local health restrictions, and allowing for mass gatherings in churches. There are also several items to mess with public schools, including this idiocy.
Specify that beginning on January 11, 2021, and ending June 30, 2022, a school board may not provide virtual instruction to pupils in lieu of in-person instruction unless approved by a two-thirds vote of the members of the school board. Specify that the approval would be valid for 14 days, after which the school board could extend virtual instruction for an additional 14 days only by another two-thirds vote of the members of the school board.
The "party of local control", you know.

The only extra funding that is in the Assembly GOP bill is basically an ability to allow the Joint Finance Committee to move $100 million away from funds that aren't going to be used up, and transferred for "expenditures related to the public health emergency." But while it slaps on a lot of rules and requirements of coverage (some of which are good), there isn't a lot of money that the Assembly GOP bill sets aside to handle treatment or the extra costs that will go ionto treatment and vaccination.

But this casual and PR-related approach to dealing with COVID World isn't going to be enough, particularly as levels of cases and the rate of people testing positive started to go back up in the final week of 2020.

And this update from today was an especially bad sign. So if the gerrymandered GOP Legislature wanted to smack down COVID-19 and resume the decline in new cases that we had in December, now would be the time to get serious about this, and to formally sign off on measures that were in the stimulus bill that passed Congress at the end of the year.

But WisGOP is NOT serious about dealing with COVID. All they want to do is insert power-grabs and poison pills designed to have Governor Evers veto the bill, which allows WisGOP to complain even more about Evers not doing enough and not "compromising". Which is complete bunk as Evers has already compromised plenty in the bill, and even included the few good items in last month's Assembly GOP plan as part of his own revised proposal for the new session.

If GOPs really wanted Wisconsin to get through this COVID Winter with fewer difficulties, they'd put out one "clean" bill that would include the items they and Evers agree on. They could even pull the talk radio poser stuff in a separate bill that they could promote and rile up their base with. But that's NOT what the Assembly GOP is doing, and are instead larding up this COVID bill with a pule of junk that is intended to be vetoed, to muck things up even more, and then dump the blame on Evers as the pandemic drags on and the state continues to stagnate.

It's all a game to these jackwagons, and with an election for Governor looming in 2022, you can bet they'll be even less interested in being responsible leaders and trying to make things better for the typical Wisconsinite.


  1. Soon our Republican friends will just build a castle and all live in it. And then all of us can pay homage to them on a daily basis.

    They won’t be done until they have absolute control and power over the state.

    1. And they won't stop until they are entirely swept from power, which takes a lot with gerrymandering and the GOPperganda networks that warp so many voters.

      Want proof that Vos isn't serious about dealing with COVID? Check out this passage in a WisPolitics story from this week.

      "Vos said late [Tuesday] Evers couldn’t line-item veto the legislation. Guvs can only line-item bills that include an appropriation, and one provision in Vos’ bill would allow the Joint Finance Committee to pull money from other appropriations to create a $100 million fund to cover pandemic-related costs. Vos said he’s been assured by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau that provision doesn’t open the door to Evers using his partial veto authority."

      Now why would Vos care about that, except to WANT Evers to veto the bill? Or else he and AssGOP would want to allow Evers to sign on to the areas of agreement that they have.

      And did I mention that Vos was saying this at the same time that Wisconsin was going over 5,000 COVID deaths? Disgusting.